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Matuska presented with faculty excellence award

Kathleen Matuska, Ph.D., left, accepts the award from Joan Kelly '46, center, and Senior Vice President Colleen Hegranes.
Kathleen Matuska, Ph.D., left, accepts the award from Joan Kelly '46, center, and Senior Vice President Colleen Hegranes.
Photo by Rebecca Zenefski '10.

Kathleen Matuska, Ph.D., has been awarded the 2012 Bonnie Jean Kelly and Joan Kelly Faculty Excellence Award, the highest faculty honor at St. Catherine University.

Senior Vice President Colleen Hegranes made the presentation at the University’s opening celebration for students, faculty and staff members on Sept. 5.

Presented annually since 2006, the distinguished award carries a $10,000 cash prize and recognizes accomplishments in teaching, scholarship and other achievements in the honoree's field.

An ‘OT family’

Occupational therapy runs deeply in Kathleen Matuska’s heritage. She is a member of what she calls a “three-generation OT family.” Her mother and her daughter — both St. Kate’s alumnae — were also drawn to the occupational therapy field.

Matuska joined St. Kate’s as an instructor in occupational therapy in 1993 and was named an assistant professor the following year.  She became an associate professor and earned tenure in 2000, was appointed program director of the master of arts in occupational therapy program in 2003 and this year will serve as chair of the Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy Department.

She is recognized internationally for her continuing research in fatigue management for people with multiple sclerosis, and she also conducts research in life balance and healthy aging. Matuska has been awarded more than 18 grants. In addition, as part of her doctoral dissertation, she created the Life Balance Inventory, an online tool that can be used to measure a healthy balance among work, volunteerism, family obligations and relaxation in people’s lives.

Currently editor of the Occupational Therapy Journal of Research: Occupation, Participation, and Health, she has co-edited three books and has had more than 18 scholarly articles and six book chapters published.

In addition, she has made more than 70 presentations on various issues of occupational health — either singularly or as part of a team — including an invitation from the prestigious Lunds University in Sweden.

She was named a Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association in 2011 for her contributions to the occupational therapy field. She was awarded the St. Catherine University’s Carol Eastley Denny Award in 2009 and has been recognized by the Minnesota Occupational Therapy Association with both research and communication awards.

Matuska earned a baccalaureate in occupational therapy and a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) as well as a doctorate in education curriculum and instruction from the University of Minnesota.

About the Kelly Award

St. Kate’s alumna, donor and Centennial 100 honoree Joan Kelly ’46 endowed the faculty prize and a distinguished visiting scholar program, as well as a writing excellence award for students.

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of St. Kate’s, Kelly credits her liberal arts education and the University’s founders, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, for her success after she joined her father’s business and led it to national standing.

The Bonnie Jean Kelly and Joan Kelly programs are all co-named to honor Joan’s late sister, Bonnie Jean, who attended St. Kate’s for a brief time before her death.

 This is the seventh year the award has been presented.

Kelly Award past recipients

2011—Geri Chavis, professor of English;

2010—Amata Miller, IHM, professor of economics and director of the Myser Initiative on Catholic Identity;

2009—Susan Dandridge Bosher, professor of English, and Margaret Dexheimer Pharris, professor of nursing;  

2008—Mary Ann Brenden, associate professor of social work;

2007—Laurie Swabey, professor of American Sign Language (ASL)/Interpreting; and

2006—Mary Wagner, professor of Master of Library and Information Science.

Sep. 5, 2012 by Julie Michener

See also: Faculty, Healthcare, Leadership